The trip back was an adventure in unto itself. The last night we asked the concierge at our B&B how much time we should give ourselves. He said 3 hours at the airport and about an hour to get to the airport. Yikes! The forecast was for rain the next day which apparently makes taxis harder to come by so we opted for a private car for only EUR10 more.
The private car was nice and picked us up promptly at 7a. The ride through Rome to the airport highway was like a roller coaster. The streets were virtually empty and the driver was very liberal about the use of lanes. Shortly after we were on a major road out of the city, the driver takes an exit and we find ourselves on a dirt road through a junkyard. Jonobie and I looked at each other with the “surely the B&B wouldn’t have given us a serial killer as a private driver — they’d get horrible ratings” look (which made perfect sense at the time in our sleep-deprived state, less so now). Apparently it was a shortcut as just a moment later we were back on a major road.
We got to the airport with 2.25 hours until our plane boarded which is just as well seeing as it took 1.75 of that just to check in and go through security.
Unlike the flight to Rome, the flight back to the states was less than ideal. Mostly due to the screaming child seated four rows up that cried through most of the 9 hour flight. Add to that crazy sinus pressure due to my allergies and it was a miserable trip. And for the record, while Rome has tons of water fountains, most of which date back to Roman times and some still fed via the aquaduct, the Leonardo di Vinci airport has none.
The excitement didn’t begin in ernest until we got to JFK. Our flight out of Rome was delayed by about an hour, so our 3 hour layover turned into 2 hours. We whittled away an hour of it waiting for our luggage so we could go through customs. Jonobie’s luggage appeared at the very end and mine was nowhere to be found. With only 45 minutes until our flight boarded and a terminal transfer plus security still left to go – I sent Jonobie on to catch the flight while I figured out my luggage. This way at least one of us made the flight.
I went and found someone from Alitalia who directed me to their desk outside security. The gentleman there said I should file a claim form at my final destination, so I sprinted to the next terminal in an attempt to catch my flight. When I arrived at the next terminal, Jonobie was nowhere to be found at the security line. I sweettalked the woman guarding the priority boarding to let me in that shorter security line and waited as the minutes ticked down to my flight’s boarding time. Jonobie texts me that she’s on a train to the terminal. Apparently there are two ways to the terminal and we’d taken different routes. At this point we’re not certain if one, both, or neither of us are going to make it to our flight. I get through security and run flat out to get to my gate about 100 yards away. I turn the corner to my gate and there’s Jonobie walking towards me. Our flight hadn’t yet started boarding.
We dashed through Burger King to grab something before the 5 hour flight to Seattle and made it as one of the last people to board our plane. Needless to say we were a bit punchy that we made it on the plane, even sans one bag.
This is being posted from the plane’s wifi connection, so there’s still the chance that there’s More Adventure To Come until we arrive at our respective homes!
Update: As luck would have it, my luggage somehow magically bypassed customs and made it onto the flight from JFK to Seattle! When I went to file a claim in Seattle, the agent was happy to inform me that it would be showing up on the baggage carousel momentarily!